Initiated over 14 months ago, Project
Columbus, as the exercise is called, has provided the agency much needed findings to
implement this organisational restructuring, which is expected to take about a year to
roll out nationally.
the agencys highly successful managing director,
Ranjan Kapur, the whole agency, consisting of 833 people
and 250 clients, will be structured around consumer needs,
instead of the existing structure around brands.
This move is a landmark
in the advertising world which has traditionally been
reshaping to create cross-functional and geography brand
teams. This will be the first time in the history of global
advertising that an agency is restructuring from the angle
of serving a consumers needs, wants and desires
first, instead of a brands end.
As part of this restructuring exercise the agencys
chief finance officer, S N Rane has been promoted to the
post of chief operating officer. He will work closely
with the agencys hotshot creative director, Piyush
Pandey, who has recently been promoted to group president.
Together they will help in the implementation of Project
Columbus and tie up the business and financials of all
With his promotion,
Mr Pandey will spend less time in the creative department
and will, instead, get a creative governor to oversee
the agencys very high creative standards. Mr Pandey
states that his mission now will be to drive passion and
creativity across markets.
Under the new dispensation, O&M will have defined
knowledge acquisition and application zones, which will
shelter 14 need clusters. Of these need clusters around
12 are consumer-focussed and include health and hygiene,
leisure and tourism and education. The zone structure
will be topped by a board of 10 governors who will be
specialists in their respective disciplines. These disciplines
will include creative, strategy, rural, direct marketing,
customer relationship management, new initiatives such
as retail and entertainment and identity design.
Each of the 14 need clusters
will be staffed by an art director, copywriter, strategists,
public relation, direct marketing and customer relationship
management specialists. Additionally, a member from Mindshare,
the agencys research outfit, may also be part of
the team. Each cluster will be headed by a business director.
Cross-functional and -geography teams will work together
on the innumerable brands in their cluster and bring specialised
focus to the table.
While each cluster will have a headquarter that will serve the entire national network,
mini clusters of client servicing people will be created in each market so as not to
diffuse the personalised element.
Led by IIM alumnus, Vivek
Sharma and planned and driven by a seven-member task force
drawn from the brightest staffers across disciplines,
the project was based on extensive interviews with members
of the industry to find out what they expected from their
ad agencies in the future. The new structure was based
on the overwhelming feedback that clients in todays
competitive world wanted two-way interactivity from their
ad agencies and not merely the traditional support as
suppliers of communication and media inputs.
With the nature of the business changing from
managing brands to managing consumer needs, clients want much more value from their
agencies and a greater understanding of their consumers.
goal of the new structure will be to collect best of
practice inputs in various disciplines from around the
world which will be fed to both the knowledge arms. This ensures
a vertical and horizontal sharing of knowledge at the same
It is understood that if the new structure works, it will be replicated across all O&M